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Canada Legalizes Pot Sales Nationwide

Country could set standard for how a legal marijuana market might develop at retail

TORONTO -- Retailers across Canada will be able to begin selling marijuana in their stores as soon as Oct. 17.

On June 19, Canada became the second country in the world to approve the legalization of pot sales nationwide, perhaps setting a standard for how a legal marijuana market might develop at retail.

Canada’s Senate gave final approval of the bill to legalize cannabis June 19, with the October start date intended to give time for retailers to prepare, according to CBS News. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “It is our hope as of Oct. 17 there will be a smooth operation of retail cannabis outlets operated by the provinces … that will ensure that this happens in an orderly fashion.”

The vote comes a year after Circle K parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard made overtures to the Canadian government to possibly sell marijuana at retail. The outreach suggested the company was ready to move on selling pot sooner than later. However, the Laval, Quebec-based company told CSP Daily News this week it had nothing new to report on the matter.

One of Canada's goals with the legalization is to take market share away from organized crime and protect the country’s youth, Trudeau said. “Over the following months and indeed years, we will completely replace or almost completely replace the organized-crime market on that,” he said.

Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide legal marijuana market, although each Canadian province is working up its own rules for pot sales. The federal government and the provinces will need to publish regulations that will govern the cannabis trade before they go into action, CBS reported.

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